The NHL is promoting its Hockey Fights Cancer program this month, and three Coyotes - Peter Mueller, Keith Yandle
and David Hale – will play with pink sticks on Thursday night when Phoenix takes on the Pittsburgh Penguins in an attempt to raise both awareness and money for breast cancer.
“It’s great that an organization and a league can raise money for a good cause,” said Hale, whose mother died because of breast cancer. “... You can ask a lot of people and they know someone through a few degrees of separation that have been touched by it or have it.”
|Coyotes Pack Girls model the Hockey Fights Cancer ties at Jobing.com Arena. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images) |
Mueller’s grandmother is a breast cancer survivor.
“I am giving back to the people that had a tough time going through it,” Mueller said. “I am just happy that I can provide and say that my family has been through that and overcome it.”
Yandle has had friends and family members who’ve battled breast cancer.
“It’s close to my heart and I care about it,” said Yandle, who has an aunt who’s experienced breast cancer. “They’re survivors with everything they have done in their lives. I couldn’t even imagine what they have gone through. Anything we can do to help is good.”OFFENSE FROM DEFENSE
While Head Coach Wayne Gretzky has shifted the offensive lines to create more offense, he is looking for some goals from the blue liners, too.
Through seven games, Coyotes defensemen have scored just one goal.
“It’s just getting back to basics,” said Hale, who has one assist. “We just have to start getting pucks to the net and scoring dirty goals.”
Yandle is the only defenseman with a goal this season.
“They have been telling us in practice that we need to jump up in the play and get some more offense,” Yandle said. “Even if we are just being a decoy for the other team and getting our big guys open so they can score.”
Meanwhile, Gretzky said new defenseman Ken Klee would play Thursday night vs. Pittsburgh, but he hasn’t decided on Klee’s partner just yet.WINNIK TO WEAR MICROPHONE
Forward Dan Winnik will wear a microphone for Fox Sports Arizona viewers on Thursday night. During the telecast, viewers will be able to hear from him while he is one the ice and facing off with one of the NHL's marquee teams and players such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
In addition, analyst Darren Pang will be stationed at ice level between the benches for the duration of the game.